User story maps

Story maps help your team visualize and plan work according to the journey that individuals take as they buy and use your products.

Product and marketing teams use story maps in different ways:

  • Product teams create story maps to structure and prioritize work around the path (the steps) that a user will complete while using your product.
  • Marketing teams create story maps to visualize a buyer’s journey and plan work around each step in the decision to purchase your product.

The steps on a story map start on the left and move to the right as you add steps. Once you have added the steps in your journey, you can add any work that is necessary to improve the experience at each step. Once you have defined the work, you can organize and prioritize the work within each step.

In this article, we will use product management language — features, master features, releases — and depending on how you have implemented Aha! or customized your workspace's terminology, you may refer to these records differently — as stories, epics, and releases, or as activities, master activities, and schedules, for example. Regardless of your Aha! use case, user story maps function the same way. 

Click any of the following links to skip ahead: 

Create a user story map

User story maps are enabled by default in all product and workspaces. If you customized your navigation, you will need to enable user story maps at Settings ⚙️> Workspace > Navigation. You must have owner or contributor permissions to create and edit user story maps.

Aha-create-user-story-map.png

To create a user story map:

  1. Navigate to Features > User story map.
  2. Click the Add user story map button to create a new map.
  3. Give the user story map a name by clicking on the title. This will open the map’s drawer where you can edit the title.

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Customize a user story map

Once you have created your story map, you can start adding the steps and records that represent the technical and/or non-technical work that must be completed to improve the experience at each step. 

To add new records to a user story map:

  • Add steps to your user story map by hovering over the first horizontal swimlane at the top of the screen. Click the + Add step button that appears. Begin typing to name the step.
  • Add master features by hovering over the second horizontal swimlane and clicking + Add master feature.

    Note: When you add a master feature to a user story map, the Master features setting will be automatically enabled for your product or workspace.
  • Add features by hovering over the grey work area located on the lower half of the page and select the Add feature button. Begin typing to name the new record. Any features that are dragged into a column beneath a master feature will be assigned to the master feature. If you move a feature out of the column beneath a master feature, it will be disassociated from the master feature.
  • Releases can be added by hovering on the space between features and then clicking on the Add release button.  

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Note: Newly created features are assigned to the release shown on the story map. When you first create a story map where there are no releases yet, features will be automatically assigned to the left-most parking lot on the features board (or activities board) for the product or marketing workspace where the story map resides.

To add, update, or remove existing records from a user story map:

  • Use the Add existing records right sidebar to select the existing records that you would like to add. You can choose from records that exist in the product or marketing workspace where the user story map resides. Tip: Select a parking lot release to organize features that are not yet ready to be prioritized into a release . Parking lots will appear at the bottom of the map.
  • For master features, master activities, features or activities, click a record's ID number to open the detail drawer for that record. 
  • There are two ways to remove records from the map:
    • Choose the More options button that appears in the top-right corner of each record on the map. Then select the Remove from map option.
    • From the Add existing records sidebar, deselect a record to remove it from the map.

Note: Removing a record from the map does not delete the record. To delete a record, click the More details button on the record, then choose Edit. You can delete the record from the More details button in the record details drawer. If you remove a release from a user story map and would like to add it back, you need to re-add the features .

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Associate a user story map with a persona

User story maps by definition have a user in mind — so it often makes sense to associate your user story map with a persona. Persona profiles let you build out details of your users, their likes, dislikes, backgrounds and goals.

You can associate multiple personas with the same user story map, or create a separate user story map for each of your personas. The Personas filter at the top of the page will keep you organized. 

To associate a user story map with a persona, click the top row of the user story map to open the user story map detail drawer.

aha-user-story-map.png

 

In the detail drawer, use the Personas field to select as many personas as you think apply to this user story map. 

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Record links

When you create a new record or add an existing record to a user story map, Aha! will automatically establish a link between the record and the user story map. You can view these links in the Record links section of the record details. Any records linked to user story maps will be labeled in this format: Is contained by + [User story map name]. 

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Working with user story maps

The View all user story maps collapsible sidebar on the left side of the screen is used to manage the user story maps that you have created within your product or marketing workspace.  

To change the colors of the cards that appear on a story map, click the settings button Aha-settings.png to color the cards by Status or Type.  

  • Status: The cards will appear in the colors that are set at Account > Configure statuses and workflows and assigned to your product or marketing workspace.
  • Type: A set of default colors will be used on the map for each record type. 

To add/remove a new column or row to the story map: 

  • To modify columns, hover over the top of the column and click the More details button Aha-more-details.png. From there, you can choose from Insert column left, Insert column right, or Delete column. Only empty columns can be deleted.
  • To add a new row or column, drag a record into the space between records and hold until a blue line appears. Drop the record onto the line to create a new row or column.
  • To remove a row, remove everything from the row and make the empty row the bottom-most row in your work area.

    Note: Several blank rows will always appear at the bottom of a release to help you quickly add more features. Since they don't have any data in them, you cannot delete them.

Aha-working-with-user-story-maps.png

To move a group of features that are associated with a master feature, drag the master feature to a new column and all of the associated features will move as a group. 

To delete a user story map, select the More details button in the upper-right corner of the page and choose Delete map. This will not delete the records that are contained within the map — only the map itself.

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Share your user story map

Use the More options button in the top-right corner of the page to export your user story map as an image or PDF. You can also add and share your user story map as an Aha! presentation using the Add to presentation option.

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